By Judy Wakefield
---- — It’s been a simple formula that has gotten Palmers Restaurant and Tavern owner John Palmer Ingalls to his silver anniversary in the restaurant business.
And he plans to stay on that simple track as he readies to expand his reach with the addition of a new restaurant in the coming months.
On Friday night, April 19, Ingalls and his staff will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of Palmers.
Appropriately enough, he’s marking the occasion by rolling back the clock with a house party theme complete with an appearance by a founding member of the popular 1980s Boston-based J. Giels Band.
“We’ve stayed on top of the food trends, but it’s the simple formula of giving customers good food that has made us successful,” said Ingalls, whose diverse menu boasts natural chicken, organic items and many fish selections. “We stay current with our menu and Andover customers like that.”
Chef Ingalls established Palmers in 1988 as a waterfront eatery across from the harbor in Swampscott. In 1995, he moved Palmers to 18 Elm St. near the center of downtown Andover, where it has remained ever since.
The restaurant features a large tavern and three dining rooms, two with fireplaces. An upscale lunch and dinner menu is offered daily and tavern fare is also available throughout the day.
Chef Ingalls said he loves Andover and has been hosting events all month to mark the 25th. Earlier this week, he hosted a cooking demonstration and food and wine tasting. A half-price burger day is planned for Monday, April 22.
On Friday, J. Geils Band bassist Danny Klein will bring his Full House Band to the restaurant for a show. The fun starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 and include complimentary hors d’oeuvres.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Ingalls is hoping to spread his success to Marblehead this summer with the opening of a second restaurant. The new business, which will include two movie theaters, is scheduled to launch in mid-July with a movie premiere theme.
Ingalls is no stranger to big events — even with Hollywood connections. Palmers in Andover was the location for a movie shoot in 2008, when A-listers Elisabeth Shue and Thomas Haden Church filmed a dinner scene on the second floor of the restaurant for the film “Don McKay.” Shue’s big white trailer was parked on Elm Street during their visit.
Ingalls said the new Marblehead restaurant will have no effect on Palmers Andover. He simply plans to run both restaurants.